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Pupil

Looking to Learn how to Program.

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I'm still in High School and have done a fair amount of independent sudy on Game Design. I have a lot of ideas and have tried many online Game Makers. The one I want to use is Microsoft's XNA and the language is C#.I know nothing at all about programming so is this language too hard for a beginner and will it be useful when I eventually get hired? I really want to learn how to program basic games to make a tech demo, and programming will be an extra advantage in getting a job. I hope to be able to do all this before I'm finished highschool in 2 years, so I have a relatively short time. Basically, my questions are: -Is C# to advanced for me, someone who knows nothing about basic programming? -If so, where should I start? -Are there any beginner and easy to understand books on the language you suggest? Also, I only want to learn computer languages used in the game industry.

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Hi Pupil, you wrote:

>...Microsoft's XNA and the language is C#.I know nothing at all about programming so is this language too hard for a beginner

Yes.

>and will it be useful when I eventually get hired?

Bad question. None of us has a crystal ball. You should ask about likelihood rather than certain futuretelling.

>I really want to learn how to program basic games

Good. Then by all means you should get an education in programming.

> programming will be an extra advantage in getting a job.

Well, I wouldn't say "will." I'd say "could."

>I hope to be able to do all this before I'm finished highschool in 2 years

Well... maybe you can learn enough C# in 2 years to create a demo, but that still probably won't get you a game job. You need a degree and a better portfolio than just one measly little demo.

>where should I start?

I've read dozens of threads just like this one, and the usual answer is "Python."

>Also, I only want to learn computer languages used in the game industry.

Wrong attitude. You should be willing to learn whatever it takes to get you a degree and to make games. That means that along the way you'll learn a lot of stuff that you think you don't need to learn.
You must learn patience, Grasshopper.

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I don't think C# is too difficult, as long you have a good teacher/book and you're willing to put in the effort to learn it. It's easy to learn a language, it takes a lot more effort to master it.

Learning languages that are only used in the game industry is really not the right way to look at things. As a matter of fact games have been written in pretty much every language out there. Programming is not about any specific language, a language is just a tool you use to express yourself. You need to concentrate on the philosophies of program design, data structures and other topics that are taught in college. You can learn these on your own, and in order to be a good programmer/developer you need to develop an attitude of discovering these things yourself. The earlier you begin the easier it'll be once you get to college.

Get educated and good luck!

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Python and C# are both great languages to learn to program with. I've recently been diving into Python and I have found it to be more intuitive than the C family of languages (C, C++, C#, Java), but your mileage will vary. C# is very popular and you get both a great IDE to develop in it with and a great library for making games with (XNA), both for free.

No matter what language you choose to begin with, it will be hard. You have to take things one step at a time and realize it will probably be several months before you enough of a grasp on the language to start really making games that are beyond tic-tac-toe.

Python:
Python 2.6 - The Python interpreter. You'll need to copy the Python26.dll file into your system32 folder. Python 2.6 is nice because it accepts both 2.x series code and the new standard for the upcoming 3.x series of the language.
PyScripter - A free IDE. When you first fire it up it'll let you know an update is available. Follow the directions to update for Python 2.6 and 3.0 compatibility.
PyGame and Pyglet - Cross-platform windowing and multimedia libraries to speed up game development.
Think Python - A free book to learn Python with, written by a professor who uses the book to teach his classes with.

C#:
Visual C# 2008 Express Edition. - C# compiler and and awesome IDE.
XNA - Library to help you with making games for Windows and the Xbox 360.
I haven't a clue on good free books, but I'm sure someone else can point you in the right direction.

Oh, and as far as industry use, both Python and C# are used extensively for tools development and prototyping, but not really for the actual game engines. Pretty well most commercial games are written with C++, but C# or Python should be a good starting point for you.

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A read-through by Xanthus

-> I'm still in High School
Good time to start :)

-> and have done a fair amount of independent study on Game Design
Independent, unproved design studies will not really help your CV.

-> I have a lot of ideas and have tried many online Game Makers.
The key to game creation is imagination, I don't have that much :(

-> The one I want to use is Microsoft's XNA and the language is C#
Better. Than. Python.

-> I know nothing at all about programming so is this language too hard for a beginner and will it be useful when I eventually get hired?
It's definitely useful. C# uses C-style syntax, used by almost all used languages in the game programming industry.

-> I really want to learn how to program basic games to make a tech demo
Tech demos are good for your status in the community (they're always fun!), but not for a job unfortunately.

-> and programming will be an extra advantage in getting a job.
It certainly will.

-> I hope to be able to do all this before I'm finished highschool in 2 years
You can do this in under 2 years. I've only been using C# for a year and I can already make tech game demos in XNA.

-> Is C# to advanced for me, someone who knows nothing about basic programming?
It could be aggravating, but with more knowledge you will learn to fix most common errors, mainly syntax errors.

-> If so, where should I start?
The Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Express Edition mini-site, and the XNA Creators Club website. On both you should download the relevant package (XNA Game Studio 3.0 or Visual C# Express Edition 2008 with SP1). UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU USE THE STARTER KITS OR THE HELP SYSTEM - they are possibly the worst support itmes in the world.

-> Are there any beginner and easy to understand books on the language you suggest?
Yes, C# 2008 for dummies (Chuck Sphar & Stephen Randy Davis), the publisher's recommended price for retailers is $29.99, although you can easily get it cheaper (in real and online shops).

-> Also, I only want to learn computer languages used in the game industry.
Other languages will still help you! I haven't read about VB.net, but I know C#.net and several other similar languages, it helps my understanding of it greatly.

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Quote:
Original post by Xanthus
-> I have a lot of ideas and have tried many online Game Makers.
The key to game creation is imagination, I don't have that much :(

The key is getting some work done to actually build a game - and then refine it. Ideas and imagination are all fine and good, but without actual programming, painting and decision-taking, there will be little useful result.

Quote:
-> The one I want to use is Microsoft's XNA and the language is C#
Better. Than. Python.

Why? Python is successfully being used in several games. I'm using it frequently to prototype ideas with and it's a blast to work with. With libraries such as Pygame, Pyglet and the Panda 3D engine, most directions are covered. Which one is 'better' is mostly a matter of personal preference, imo.

Quote:
-> I know nothing at all about programming so is this language too hard for a beginner and will it be useful when I eventually get hired?
It's definitely useful. C# uses C-style syntax, used by almost all used languages in the game programming industry.

Yet it uses different concepts than C. Syntax is by far not all there is to it. But yeah, C# is a useful language to learn. At work, we use it occasionally for GUI tools.

Quote:
-> Also, I only want to learn computer languages used in the game industry.
Other languages will still help you! I haven't read about VB.net, but I know C#.net and several other similar languages, it helps my understanding of it greatly.

Seconded. I started with C++ (thinking it was the language). Eventually I grew out of that narrow-minded view and started to use other languages. I picked up Java, C# and Python at school and discovered haXe while I tried to build some Flash games. A while ago I investigated Lisp a bit. Nowadays, I use C++ and Python mostly, with a bit of C# now and then, but I'm drawing inspiration from several other languages and paradigms, even though I don't always directly use them.

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